Do you use reading as a source of comprehensible input in your language classroom? In this episode, we dive into the topic of reading with Ashley Mikkelsen, a Spanish teacher in North Dakota, who shares suggestions and ideas for engaging reading activities that you can do right away in your classroom. Ashley has a true passion for making reading fun and interactive for students. So, grab your notebook and pen, and get ready to add lots of pre, during, and post reading activities to your next lesson.
Topics in this Episode:
Ashley’s journey with literacy
the benefits of reading in the language acquisition process
I’ve been workshopping how to make logic puzzles so that I can engage students in various vocabulary topics and language structures. This is yet another way to provide students with opportunities to see and use language in context. These logic puzzles also require a bit of critical thinking skills as they follow the logic and figure out the answers.
I spent some time coming up with the “equations” and templates so that I can just add in the topic vocabulary and write the clue sentences. I decided to create 4 versions that increase in challenge level.
You can download your own templates and get to work creating your own logic puzzles for your students. The link below will make a copy of the Google Slide™ temples in your Google Drive™. Just follow the equations for the clues and you will soon have logic puzzles using the specific content that pertains to your students.
How does it work?
There are 4 versions of the logic puzzles for increased challenge. The directions are in English, but can be easily changed to any language.
Begin by filling in the boxes in the top row and the column on the left. This can be names of people, pictures, anything.
Use the data “equations” to write sentences that lead students to follow the logic and figure out the answers. “=“ means a positive statement and “≠” means a negative statement.
1. C ≠ 2
2. B ≠ 4
3. A = 2
4. D ≠ 3
5. C = 1
Using the example above:
1. C ≠ 2 : Mateo does not have a tablet.
2. B ≠ 4 : Lucía doesn’t have a computer.
3. A = 2 : Laura has a tablet.
4. D ≠ 3 : Julia doesn’t have a pencil.
5. C = 1 : Mateo has a notebook.
The checkmarks are there to make sure you are following the equations. When finished, be sure to delete the checkmarks and the letters/numbers above and to the left of the grid.
The last thing to do is to add question below where the students will find the answers in the grid.
Have fun with these and let us all know what you come up with.
In this episode we talk about stories in the language classroom. Stories provide opportunities to see and interpret words and structures in context. There are numerous opportunities to engage with the text in all of the communication modes. Additionally, students learn about different cultures and can also see themselves reflected in the story. This form of representation is incredibly valuable for students on their language learning journey.
I am joined by Jennifer Degenhardt, a language teacher and author of CI (Comprehensible Input) novels for novice and intermediate students.
Jennifer offers her thoughts and insights on…
the value in representation
how she finds her characters and their stories
the research that goes into a book
how she writes an “authentic” personal experience
what she hears from students and teachers who read her books
I have done a paper version of this activity, but now I do them digitally using Google Slides™. Students are actively engaged in their language learning with these interactive digital squares verb form activities.
To complete the puzzles, students begin with a subject/infinitive from the number column and locate the correct form in the letter column. They then find the corresponding square in the grid, such as 1E, 5G or 7B, and drag a red dot to it.
ACTFL provides us with Core Practices that guide teachers toward teaching language proficiency rather than simply teaching about the target language. It comes down to providing students with opportunities to do something with the language and not just demonstrate what they know about the language.
When we take on the task of providing opportunities for students to engage with culture ACTFL recommends using authentic cultural resources.
What is an authentic cultural resource?
Eileen W. Glisan and Richard Donato explain that “Authentic texts […] are created for various social and cultural purposes byand for users of the target language.” The word authenticimplies that “the text has not been simplified or edited for the purpose of language instruction.”
How do I choose authentic cultural resources?
Leslie Grahn suggests that these resources should be:
Authentic(truly for by and or native speakers)
Appealing(compelling to students)
Accessible (according to the students’ proficiency level)
Aligned(integrated into goals and backward planning)
What are some possibilities for authentic cultural resources?
One of the best pieces of advice that I have heard regarding using authentic cultural resources is from Leslie Grahn:
How many times have we done our best to come up with scenarios and role plays that may or may not be applicable to the everyday lives of our students? Where are they reading, writing, speaking and communicating? Social media is certainly one place. I put together a template for Instagram™ photos and stories and students write their own descriptions of photos and comment on their classmates’ posts. I even added on opportunities to “post” Instagram™ Story videos.
I can’t actually use social media platforms with my students, so I created Google Slides™ where they insert photos and videos with descriptions into a template.
I am enjoying figuring out everything that you can do with Google Slides™. I’m a big fan of digital task cards (like Boom Cards) and I use them often with students, but I wanted to find a way for students to do similar activities with vocabulary, but that are available without needing to log into a Website…activities that students can access and use to review right from their Google™ account.
These Google Slides™ activities give students opportunities to identify words, phrases or pictures, then to identify and read words, and then to practice spelling. I particularly like that there is absolutely no prep needed. You just share with students. Easily used for distance, hybrid, blended or in school learning and teaching.
Here are examples of these interactive vocabulary activities using Google Slides™.
The organizational part is step one, then we need to figure out what the actual choices are. I compiled suggestions for each option below. Since the choice board template is designed to be used for any language, theme or proficiency level I am keeping the suggestions and resources general so that you can easily adapt them to the content that you are focusing on in your classes. Hopefully this list will spark some ideas and make the process of creating choice boards more manageable.